- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 24, 2002

DOUGLAS, Ariz. They paid the alien smugglers, or coyotes, $1,500 each and were promised jobs in South Carolina as sheet metal workers.

It took the six men just a few days to get from their homes near Mexico City to Aqua Prieta, Mexico, just across the border from here, where they used the code name they had been given to hire other coyotes who would take them across the border and then on to South Carolina.

Getting over the 14-foot fence that separates this town from Aqua Prieta was easy.

But two miles into the United States, they were robbed by their new coyotes and left in the desert without food or water. Three days later, they flagged down a U.S. Border Patrol agent on a highway and surrendered.

Sitting in the darkness along the highway while three Border Patrol agents began the lengthy paperwork that would see them returned across the border, one of the men, Jaime, said in Spanish he had no idea what they were going to do.

"We don't have any money and no way to get back to our families," he said.

"We'll see them again tomorrow or maybe the next day," said Willie Barber, a field operations supervisor at the Border Patrol's Douglas station. "Once they get stranded at the border, the only real option they have is to try again to cross into the United States and find a job. We've seen it a million times."

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